Manchester United Need to Secure David De Gea's Services for the Future

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistMarch 14, 2014

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 20:  David De Gea of Manchester United celebrates as Robin van Persie of Manchester United scores the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at White Hart Lane on January 20, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images

When Edwin van der Sar played his last game for Manchester United in 2011, you could cut the nervous tension with a knife as supporters and player waved goodbye to one another for the last time. 

United fans thought they were experiencing deja vu. They had seen it all before when the club lost Peter Schmeichel in 1999.

The Big Dane was replaced by Mark Bosnich, a former United player who knew enough about the club to succeed at a second bite of the cherry. 

Well, he failed.

Between Schmeichel and Van der Sar, there were 10 goalkeepers who tried their luck at United, from World Cup winner Fabien Barthez to Scottish veteran Andy Goram. 

Each had their own unique selling points. Each one could not get anywhere near to the standards that Schmeichel set.  

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - MAY 19:  Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and substitute goalkeeper David De Gea applaud from the bench during the Barclays Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Manchester United at The Hawthorns on May
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Sir Alex Ferguson did not appear to have a great history of judgment on goalkeepers, so when he signed a 20-year-old boy from Atletico Madrid, making him second-most expensive goalkeeper of all time (per BBC Sport), there was more than just a smattering of doubters.

BBC Sport quoted Sir Alex as saying about his new signing: 

He's a young goalkeeper, very quick, good composure, presence and an outstanding replacement for Van der Sar. We were looking for the same type of qualities as Edwin, because the one great quality Edwin always had was his composure and organisational ability.

But despite the negativity generated by signing a kid to replace a 40-year-old, the concerns about his physique and the fact that he did not like coming out for crosses, the Spanish goalkeeper has prevailed.

He is the best in his position in the Premier League, speeding ahead of Joe Hart and his contemporaries. 

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 15:  David de Gea of Manchester United saves the attempt on goal of Jordan Henderson of Liverpool during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield on October 15, 2011 in Liverpool, En
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

And now the vultures circle:

David McDonnell of the Mirror has reported that both Real Madrid and Barcelona want to take the shot-stopper back to his homeland. De Gea's form in a United shirt has not gone unnoticed, and the two La Liga giants want him.

McDonnell explains though that United are keen to secure the player with a brand new deal worth £90,000 a week and reward him for his consistency during a difficult period for the club.

Spanish paper Marca also describes De Gea as a "potential future captain" for United, such is his reputation with David Moyes and the fanbase, and that he is "following in Schmeichel's footsteps."

MADRID, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 13:  David De Gea of Manchester United makes a save with his foot during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Real Madrid and Manchester United at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on February 13, 2013 in Madrid,
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

It is an astonishing turn-around for a goalkeeper who looked like he could be run out of the Premier League with the tidal wave of adverse press he received in his first year at Old Trafford. 

One thing is for sure: £90,000 a week is not enough. He is the defensive rock that United need to build their defence around and he is every bit as vital to the team as Wanye Rooney is. 

Could United survive if Rooney disappeared? Yes. 

And what would happen if De Gea left? United would be deep into mid-table and David Moyes would not have a job. 

It is vital to the survival of Moyes that he gets De Gea to sign a golden handcuffs deal. He should be the highest-paid goalkeeper in the world because one day soon he will be the undisputed heavyweight champion of the position. 

As United look to investing heavily in their squad, they need to be mindful of what they already have. 

It is unlikely that Juan Mata would have turned up in Manchester if his very good friend De Gea had intentions to leave the club. 

The biggest compliment one could pay the 23-year-old is that he may one day be even better than Schmeichel and Van der Sar were for the Red Devils.